NFL Draft Q&A: Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff
Our NFL Draft Q&A series continues with Pittsburgh tight end Scott Orndoff, who broke out this past season with 35 catches for 579 yards and five touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 256-pound prospect had totaled only 23 catches in his first three years of college -- though eight were for touchdowns -- and took a few minutes to talk about his preparations for the draft:
Q: Where are you training to get ready for pro day (it's today, March 22)?
A: "Leading up to the combine, I spent two months in Tampa, working out at ASPI with Yo Murphy. Now, since the combine, I'm back in Pittsburgh, training at my school. (Training in Tampa) went really well. A big part of the combine is all the speed and agility drills, and I definitely know I got well prepared there. Yo Murpny and his staff are really good with the speed work. I got a lot healthier and my body composition improved. There were probably 25 of us training there."
Q: Was there one measurable in particular you wanted to improve on this spring?
A: "The big one is the 40-yard dash, but for me it was a little bit of everything. Up until this, I never had much extensive training in terms of the agility work you do at the combine. Just trying to get myself in better shape, eating healthier, getting my body healthier."
Q: How did Shrine Game in St. Pete help you, to be able to showcase yourself against other draft prospects?
A: "I think it was good -- being an all-star game, you're performing against the higher-echelon players, really stiff competition in front of not only NFL scouts but we had NFL coaches working with us. It was a good opportunity to show what it takes to play at the next level."
Q: I know a lot of it is waiting for more playing time, but what led to you having the big season you had as a senior?
A: "I had a lot more reps than I had in my past. A large part of it too is the offense we were in -- Matt Canada, our offensive coordinator last year, he was able to utilize all the players he had in his arsenal and use us to our strengths and spread the ball around. I have to give a lot of credit to the system we played in this past season for the production I had."
Q: You had a huge game in Pitt's big win against Clemson, beating the eventual national champions. You had nine catches for 128 yards and two touchdowns. You guys also scored 76 points in a win against Syracuse. This had to have been a fun offense to be a part of.
A: "It was definitely the most fun I had playing in an offense in my college career. I played in three different offenses. This was definitely the most fun to play in."
Q: Who was the toughest opponent you played against?
A: "This best overall team we played was this past year against Clemson. We were the only team to beat them, but my whole career, across the board, they were the most talented team altogether that we played."
Q: What about the best teammate you played with?
A: "One of the best athletes I played with was (receiver) Tyler Boyd, who's now with the Cincinnati Bengals. I grew up, played high school ball near him, so I knew him since he was a freshman. He was definitely one of the most gifted, naturally talented players I shared a field with in my four years here. I never played against him in high school, but he lost only one game his whole high school career. They won states every year, so he was a big guy from the time he got there."
Q: When you watch NFL tight ends, are there any in particular you watch the most or pattern yourself after?
A: "There are a lot of good tight ends, so many different styles. There's never really a tight end I've tried to pattern myself after, but there are little pieces from different tight ends. Obviously guys like (Rob) Gronkowski that are complete tight ends in the NFL. I've become more of a blocker in the past year, so I try to mold my game after guys utilizing the blocking more than the passing game. That's something I definitely look for when I'm watching a game."
Q: We ask everybody for food recommendations back around campus. If I'm at Pitt, what's your favorite place to eat?
A: "There's a lot of good places because we're right by the city. I just went to a place, a bicycle bar -- OTB Bicycle Cafe. OTB for 'over the bar.' they have a bacon cheeseburger that has peanut butter on it. That's my go-to. There's a lot of good places, but that's one of the places."